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3.Anonymous and named woman

As was mentioned in previous chapter, the jobs females are allowed to do can be divided into five different categories which are mutually exclusive. To quantify how many female characters are in each category is an impossible task since only a fraction of all female characters wield an actual name. Most of the unnamed characters are just labelled by their appearance (Little skinny girl), by what job they are doing (palace servant), who are they married to (Anchises’ wife), who is their child (Casilla’s mother) or what activity the protagonist saw them to do (female dancers). This often leads to inability to tell if the servant that was mentioned in the last chapter is the same one as the one mentioned later in the book. Beside these unnamed spectators, author actually named nineteen of his female characters in two books, however it does not mean that they were used more than once during the whole story or that they were more important than the anonymous ones. For example the first chapter uses three different female characters that are mentioned only in this chapter and then never again, not having impact on the story besides introducing characteristic trails of the main male hero. Even named women, such as Alesia and Polysia, are then often used just to prove the point or move the plot or a subplot a little further. The author later not only ignores that they were mentioned before but often also treats them as objects in the same way as a piece of furniture or a pet would be treated. Out of these nineteen characters only eight are used repeatedly and simultaneously described enough so there can be discussion about them having character trails and look realistically. Out of these eight, the most prominent are Kassandra, Andromache, Hekabe, Laodike and Kalliope. Only thing that connects these characters is their royal origin. Their introduction to the story varies as well as how they are developing and how often they are used. Laodike is in a lot of ways, a contradiction to Kalliope while Andromache is several times told that she resembles Hekabe when the queen was her age but what the reader later discovers is that underneath she is not even close to be similar. Kassandra is then unique in almost every way possible and as such she is treated differently than both nobility and common people. Other characters which are developed and yet not used in this bachelor thesis are Aphrodite’s priestess Big Red, wife of Odysseus Penelope, queen of Ithaca, and Helikaon’s stepmother and later his wife Halysia. Destinies and stances of these characters are interesting but they were not picked for this bachelor thesis due to various reasons. Penelope and Big Red are both introduced very briefly having lot of material to work with in a small time period but there cannot be a talk about any development of these characters since they are not used periodically after their first appearance and their past is shrouded in mystery by the author. Halysia is used more often than Penelope and Big Red but her main contribution is to the side lines of the story and not the main one.

3.1 Little Seeress Kassandra

One of the best known female characters from Trojan War is undoubtedly Hector’s little sister Kassandra. When Kassandra was mentioned for the first time in Homer’s Iliad (Homer, Iliad, bk. 13, 361) she was hardly more than Priam’s youngest daughter while nowadays she is known more as a prophet of the Troy than princess of the same city. Version of Kassandra we are presented with in the trilogy is closer to the ones after Homer, which also makes her unique in the context of the books since she is the only main character we have with some sort of supernatural powers.

In these supernatural powers lies the main problem for Kassandra. Other prophets, both true and false, earned their inner sight by gods, either by praying or by sacrificing to them for an extended period of time and all of them are close to their zenith, which would made them to be seen as wise even without their abilities. Kassandra herself gave example about high priestess of Athena (one of two other female oracles mentioned in the book), prophet visited on daily basis by both royalty and common people:

Pandates the merchant went to her last year to ask if his wife would ever become pregnant. She told him the gods favoured him, but they required his patience. She said he would have a son, as long as he did nothing to offend the gods. Pandates was drowned when his ship sank. She said that he had offended Poseidon.’ (Shield of Thunder, 545)
As seen in this example, it doesn’t matter what the prophet says, very general statement which involves gods is enough if it is said by someone older. Her father can be mentioned for future demonstration of this statement. King Priam, openly said that even her prophecy came out to be true it was no more than a mere coincident while at the same time, he based a pick of the wife for his firstborn son solely on an old versed prophecy and birthmark which was in the correct shape, not taking in account that the rest of his kids were married for political advantages or wealth of their parents. For everyone it is just easier to say that she is crazy because of the illness she suffered than admit she might be right. At the age of three Kassandra was (as stated by her mother Hekabe) (Lord of the Silver Bow, 328) consumed by a ‘brain fire’ (most likely Cerebral palsy or Meningitis according to symptoms) which was for the most of the people terminal illness. Her surviving changed her in several ways – she received ability to listen to other people’s dreams, talk to the ghosts and see both past and the future. Being afraid of her gift and refusing to believe her single word she is perceived by most of the other characters as a weird, secretive, shy and quiet kid, speaking often in gibberish or enigmas. This is however in contradiction with how the reader sees her. Her appearance in both books is limited, besides epilogue of the second book, to dialogues with her cousin Helikaon, older sister Laodike or step-sister Andromache which makes her very sociable since she is never seen alone or even mentioned as a loner by any of them. Kassandra is however never seen in a presence of children of the same age, but it is unknown why. Even it is not stated anywhere openly it can also be believed that the character has elements of autism, for example she is unable to understand why people would be sad after death of their family members or what is appropriate to say at the funeral. Because of that other characters are often forced to explain to her their actions trivially while communicating with her like she was much younger, never treating her as their equal.

Not knowing about her mental state Kassandra would not be different for reader from any other children of the same age. Eleven year old version of Kassandra is slim for her age and although she is depicted as a girl who is most likely going to be a great beauty one day. Clothing is not different either since Kassandra prefers both formal and informal tunics depending on the situation (the difference lies within the length of tunics - informal female clothing ended around knees and the formal usually went up to ankles), which indicates that she was educated at the young age in etiquette of royal court. This description is not changed in the second book, although she is two years older. Her age combined with her inner state is also a huge obstacle for her contribution to the story. Being seen just as a kid with mental issues she is contributing in a strange way, that can be called actively passive – even though she is trying to make some difference with her warnings, no one actually believes her most of the time and because of that, the results would be exactly the same if she would be absent. Blindly believing in her gift, she is often warning other characters about the future or at least giving them advice and her only reward for it seems to be disbelief of others and derision both behind her back and to her face. Only exception seems to be her relationship with Andromache, who is the only person in the book trying to discuss with Kassandra her powers and mock her only in friendly spirit. Facing disbelief of everyone she knows for years, Kassandra even loses confidence in her gift and tries to decide to submit it to the test. In the epilogue of the second book she tries to commit a suicide by stepping out off a cliff which would, according to her inner monologue, result in her other visions being also untrue since the one, which told her how she is going to die, would be false. Not a single character is like her in this perspective – Andromache would persuade others to believe her one step at a time and her sister Laodike would just give up after the first unheard warning.

Trying to commit a suicide would be a change in character for anyone else but Kassandra, since she is the only main female protagonist which can be with no doubt described as a flat character. Starting at eleven and ending between fourteen and fifteen it would be safe to say that we should expect start of the puberty or some sort of mental development in perception done by her constant appearance next to Andromache, who is changing during the course of the book the most out of all females mentioned. Changes this character is presented with are very short lasting and connected more with her mood than some sort of actual development. At the start Kassandra is relatively calm, emotionally distant and communicating mostly in statements. This does not change during the course of the whole trilogy. Her puberty is narrowed to two sentences where she admires handsomeness of one of the guards just to state in the next sentence that: ‘There wouldn’t be any point (in being in love with him). Cheon (bodyguard of Andromache) will be dead long before me, and I won’t live very long.’ (Shield of thunder, 273) After this short note she never goes back to her puberty and this scheme can be applied to other communications with Kassandra – for example after being angry at Andromache for interfering in her travel plans to the isle of Thera and knowing that it was she who killed her mother Kassandra just switches back from furious mood to her old self in next paragraph, leaving everything behind like it never happened. This attitude can be also applied to her communicative skills. Not distinguishing between life and death thanks to ability to communicate with ghosts Kassandra establishes relationships with other characters in their first encounter and then never changes them.

Although Kassandra is without any doubt quite unique character she is the weakest one when it comes down to how she is written and presented. Stationary, not changing her attitude and acting exactly in the same way, even everything and everyone around her changes, makes her easily forgettable while the fact that she is more passive participant than actual contributor to the story makes her presence unimportant, playing just a filler role to the story.

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